Beyoncé, pregnant with twins, is going to perform at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, which raises some questions among nervous types: What’s she going to do — and is it safe?
The answer, with some caveats, is yes, so long as she’s not too far along and there are no medical concerns about the pregnancy.
And — this is the most important caveat — so long as she doesn’t hurl herself from the rooftop and twirl around on wires while suspended hundreds of feet above the audience. Mouths will certainly drop if she does.
“If there are no problems and it’s early in the pregnancy, I would advise her, go ahead and dance, just don’t do anything crazy — don’t do what Lady Gaga did at the Super Bowl,” says Adi Davidov, director of gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital and the Northwell Health System.
“But she can do the Single Ladies dance, that’s perfectly acceptable,” he added. “Even more active is fine. In the second or third trimester, you can dance but … be more subdued.”
Beyoncé has done this before: She revealed her first pregnancy during her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2011, when she sang, danced and strutted on stage through Love on Top, then pulled open her sparkly tuxedo jacket to reveal a swelling belly.
“In an uncomplicated pregnancy, exercise, dancing, movement is all 100% safe and acceptable and, in fact, encouraged,” says Sheeva Talebian, a New York ob-gyn and fertility specialist who answers pregnancy questions on her practice website, Truly-MD.com, and on a pregnancy website, TheBump.com.
“There is no medical reason for not being active unless there are concerns about the pregnancy,” Talebian says. “Beyoncé should be the poster child for pregnancy — she should be out there doing her thing.”
Bey may be a show-stopper (she has nine nominations this year, including for best album, best song and record of the year) but she’s not reckless: She’s 35, which puts her in the higher-risk pregnancy category, she’s already a mom (to daughter Blue Ivy, 5), and she’s preparing to give birth some months hence to two babies. Why would she risk anything just to entertain a Grammy Awards audience?
But is there a risk? Davidov says that’s still largely unknown because there’s very little research on the topic of exercise by women carrying twins. Most of the research on women who exercise vigorously during pregnancy involves women pregnant with a “singleton,” and so far the research shows no increase in “bad outcomes” because of vigorous exercise during singleton pregnancies.
“It’s more complicated with twins because there’s an increased risk from the get-go, because in general there’s a higher risk for pre-term labor and delivery. But if you’re active, does that increase the risk? We don’t know the answer because it’s not been studied,” he says.
Still, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “recommends moderate to intense exercise during pregnancy, every day if possible,” Talebian says, even if a woman is 35 or older.
Beyonce at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, when she revealed her first pregnancy. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic)
“Just because you’re having twins doesn’t mean you can’t perform on stage for several hours. Just make sure you get adequate hydration, rest and nutrition, and if you are, you’re encouraged to stay active,” Talebian says.
But this also depends on the timing of the pregnancy, says Davidov.
“The most important question is how far along are you, if it’s your first trimester or your third,” Davidov says. “In the latter, you’re showing and the twins are very large, versus (the size of) embryos. There could be complications, such as bleeding or contractions” from the increased pressure from twins.
That’s a question that matters for Beyoncé because this year she’s headlining Coachella the weekends of April 14-16 and April 21-23 in Indio, Calif. If she is in the first trimester now, she would be in the second by then, and possibly approaching the third.
Davidov and Talebian, neither of whom have treated Beyoncé, also addressed questions such as: What if she fell while performing at the Grammys? That could be a problem, both say, because the placenta could separate from the uterus, especially far along in the pregnancy.
But it would have to be very significant trauma, Talebian says. “Maybe from falling down a flight of stairs — a long flight of stairs — but it’s unlikely that a woman dancing/singing/ performing can do something so dangerous that would result in a miscarriage,” she says.
And what if Beyoncé’s pregnancy is the result of fertility treatments? We don’t know for sure that it is but there’s no doubt that twins are more common now — 1 in 29 births in 2014 vs. 1 in 53 births in 1980, according to statistics, Davidov says — and it’s because of advances in fertility treatment.
“Typically women who have in vitro fertilization are older and have more medical issues, which is why they have difficulty getting pregnant naturally,” Davidov says. “Therefore, women with IVF will have increased risks compared to naturally conceived twins.”
But the studies of fetal and maternal outcomes in pregnancies resulting from fertility treatment show only a slightly higher risk of complications, such as pre-term delivery, cesarean section, pre-eclampsia and placental abnormalities, Talebian says.
Pregnancy has long been viewed in western culture as a disability or a handicap, but attitudes are changing along with the improved medical outcomes for moms and babies, Talebian says. “The research is showing that in fact, it’s not (a handicap), and many women can and should continue their normal activities.”
OK, maybe not roller-blading or skiing, she says, or anything involving a high risk of abdominal injury.
But dancing at the Grammys this weekend? Go for it, Bey.
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